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Finishing How you make your work look great!

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Old 07-08-2009, 04:07 PM
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Default "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

I for one, LOVE water based top coats... I'm relatively new to woodworking but have been finishing drum shells and putting them together for a while now. When I started I was using tung oil (easy enough to use... hard to mess up... looks GREAT...) and then graduated on to using automotive grade polyurethane to get a more durable finish. Well cleaning my gun with nasty solvents, etc got old pretty quick so I ended up settling in with Target Coatings water based stuff. Though I hear I REALLY need to try Crystalac so that's next on my list of things to try...

Anyways the issue with water based is that it really doesn't bring out the grain like an oil or other solvent based finish will. So my compromise has been a 3-4 layer system that gives me that "under glass" look but with the warmth of an oil underneath.

Products I typically use:
Waterlox modified tung oil (the basic sealer/finish is good for this)
Zinnser SealCoat (shellac "sanding" sealer)
Waterbased sealer and or top coat of your choice

It's pretty simple really... Just give your piece one or two light coats of the waterlox (pure tung takes entirely tooooo long to dry) and let it cure for a couple days. After that seal it with 1-2 coats of the SealCoat. SealCoat is an EXCELLENT barrier coat in that it is pretty much compatible with everything I've ever sprayed on it. Once that's cured you can top with anything you'd like to spray and not have to worry about compatibility with the oil on the bottom.

Here's a birdseye maple drum shell that I finished like this (prior to wet sanding and buffing):


The finished drum:


That picture doesn't do the finish justice... Was before I had a nice tent to take my photos in. The first photo really shows how the wood glows.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

looks grand
shellac under a wb top is a great way of keeping some warmth in the look.
I've never touched Target stuff (not readily available here) but Crystallac is decent. There are some dyed in the wool Target fans here tho. Simply from reviews I think if you've already got that don't worry about trying Crystallac.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

I've had good luck with the Target stuff... but the 2 week waiting time before wet sanding kills me. With Crystalac you're talking 3 days tops. Price wise we're talking about the same and from the reviews my fellow drum builders give the Super Premium I've gotta try it.

The shellac is obviously warming but having the oil under it really makes a world of difference. I kinda learned woodworking backwards in that I couldn't even tell you what a rabbit was but I had to learn how to lay down a glass like finish on a cylinder.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

Thanks for the info on finishing your drums (and nice drums, by the way!). I'm clearly going to have to do some more experimentation with finishing...

(P.S. It's "rabbet", not "rabbit" - or "rebate" if you're in Europe... )
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I don't have as many Festools as Fred. Or Marcou's, or Brese's, or Lie-Nielsen's, or Lee Valley's, or Blue Spruce's, or Harold and Saxon's, or...
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong all this time... I went out and bought all these rabbits though so what am I going to do with them now?!
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

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Originally Posted by Poto View Post

I'm clearly going to have to do some more experimentation with finishing...
Peter, why don't we both sign up for a finishing class at the William Ng School?

I'm not sure when the next one will be scheduled, but they were having one when I was there. I peeked in and saw some pretty amazing stuff going on.

I also got a chance to talk a little bit with the finishing instructor, Brian Miller, a very nice and knowledgable guy.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

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Originally Posted by mckenziedrums View Post

... I went out and bought all these rabbits though so what am I going to do with them now?!



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Old 07-08-2009, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

Hrm... not a bad suggestion... Which reminds me, it's about time for lunch!
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

Rabbits are awfully lean - you'd probably want to wrap them in bacon or something before smoking them.

(An aside: I almost wrote "rabbis" there, which makes for a whole different concept...)

John - the finishing school sounds great. Let me know what you find out in terms of timing, etc. (I do have this scientist job occasionally too...)
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...

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Originally Posted by mckenziedrums View Post
Hrm... not a bad suggestion... Which reminds me, it's about time for lunch!
I just noticed you're in Charlotte. My parents grew up in Concord and I've spent a lot of time there. If I where in Concord lunch would be at Troutman's BBQ. Where do you eat in Charlotte?
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